Interview Synopsis

Iceland & UK frozen grocery

  • Multi Asset
  • Consumer
  • Europe

Over the past year a strange landscape unfolded for UK grocery retailers. Now, though, a former director from WM Morrison Supermarkets plc explained that there is “a very, very strong resurgence from the German discounters and the British discounters”, following depressed sales last year as consumers opted for the big four – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.

Consumer appetite for Iceland cools down post-pandemic

We heard that although customer behaviour is reverting back to pre-covid patterns, “the one exception is participation of online massively jumped up” – and although there has since been a dip, “it’s certainly well ahead of the trajectory it was pre-pandemic”.

The big four have held on to their market share, albeit at varying levels, while Iceland and Co-op are “struggling”. They commented that Tesco and Sainsbury’s are a “bit more on the ball”, whereas Asda “have probably been pretty distracted with the sale” and Morrisons aren’t “trading quite as hard as they should be”.

Giving some history of Iceland’s progression and consumer uptake of frozen food, the specialist noted that although “Iceland have been written off through their long history several times”, frozen food saw a resurgence about 6-7 years ago. Iceland were not only responsible for bringing premiumisation to this category, but have also benefited from growing awareness surrounding food waste.

Another positive step for the company are its Food Warehouse stores, with over 100 opened. The former director explained more about the format, including whether there’s risk of cannibalisation with Iceland’s high street stores, average basket size and expected trip frequency.

Other topics covered include how inflation could affect Iceland, an evaluation of its offerings and whether there’s the potential to expand or adapt its range.

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge Forum’s Iceland & UK Frozen Grocery Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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